Hugh’s News & Views (Paul’s Speech . . .)

PAUL’S SPEECH TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS

I have always considered the apostle Paul’s speech to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17-38) one of the most touching and moving speeches in all of the Bible. Obviously, it does not rank above our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) or Peter’s sermon on Pentecost when the church was established (Acts 2) or Stephen’s sermon resulting in his martyrdom (Acts 7) or even Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17). Yet, for sheer pathos, to say nothing of its sobering content, few if any speeches in the New Testament would outrank Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders. Continue reading

#acts, #elders, #hughfulford

Unless it can be confirmed: 1 Timothy 5.19 VOTD

“Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.”

1 Timothy 5.19

Accusations against God’s servants are not to be made lightly. God takes them seriously. He requires an open process to make accusations, following Old Testament guidelines. Otherwise, one is to keep silent.

Would following this guideline help in our congregations? Why is it not followed?

#elders #witnesses #VOTD

October 2014 Issue of Christian Worker

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Still the Most Critical Problem (Bill Jackson)
  • Apollos (Sam Willcut)
  • Bless the Congregational Lectureships (Bill Jackson)
  • Religion and Politics (James Boyd)
  • Fighting, but Not Striving (Tom Moore)
  • Shall We Digress into Holy Rollerism? (Curtis Cates)
  • Self-Control (Jerry Moffitt)
  • Strong Churches (Neal Pollard)
  • Jesus Brings Hope Out of Tragedy (Charles Box)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2014 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#apollos, #christian-fight, #christian-worker, #contemporary-worship, #elders, #hope, #jesus, #lectureships, #religion-and-politics, #self-control, #strong-churches, #tragedy

Preacher who is required to be elder?

This may not strike you as odd, but when I saw that which we read below as requirements for the preacher I thought to myself about a new position on the horizon: “Preacher, who is soon to be elder.” On the surface, it appears, that elders want the preacher to do, in part, their work! Surely, this is not correct. On the other hand, I wonder. Perhaps I am much too critical. Elders are not directors, but participators and leaders of the congregation.
****
*Prepare and deliver spiritually-based lessons to the congregation at specified assembly times. **** Teach Bible classes on Sunday and/or Wednesday.** Provide Bible studies to individuals and provide mentorship to the men of the congregation. *** Visit members of the congregation, especially those in the hospital, nursing homes and homebound. **** Contact current or former members who may not be in regular attendance and encourage their return to faithful service. **** Respond to members request for spiritual guidance. **** Participate in worship planning process. **** Perform marriage ceremonies and pre-marital counseling as requested. **** Attend and participate in scheduled elders and ministry leaders meetings. **** Responsible for other duties as determined by the elders.

#elders, #preacher, #requirements

Short introduction to Titus

When churches are first established, they usually lack organizational structure and practical wisdom. Titus is instructed to help set those things in order in the church at Crete (1:5).

Qualified elders (shepherds) should be appointed as soon as possible, to protect the flock from spiritual harm (1:5-9). Older saints must be encouraged to influence younger ones in their manner of life (2:1-8). Those saints who are not free (slaves) must not forfeit their fidelity to the Lord by harboring or seeking ill-will toward those who own them (2:9-10).

All are to be submissive to the civil authorities, so as to not promote the unrest and turmoil that is oft associated with worldly-minded people (3:1-3). In this way, the church shows itself serious and godly people—a people more concerned with the appearing of the Lord than mundane matters (2:11-14).

Since God extended abundant mercy to them through Christ—through the washing of regeneration (baptism) and renewal of the Holy Spirit (submission to His word)—Christians live in hope, and their lives are characterized by good works (3:4-8, 14). They avoid irrelevant talk and do not suffer fools (3:9-11).

May we grow more in His grace as we study this beautiful book.

Rick Kelley, “Prestonburg (KY) Informer,” Nov. 10.

#elders, #nt-introduction, #titus

A Difference

When the children of Israel were in the “wilderness of wandering,” the Lord gave Moses instructions concerning sins committed and what each individual Israelite needed to do (Numbers 15:22-29). Sin is a violation of God’s prescribed law (cf. 1 John 3:4). Under the old covenant when one sinned unintentionally, that is, sinned without knowing such was done, one was still guilty. (Sinning out of weakness is not addressed by the Lord; cf. Leviticus 4:13, 23, 28, and Numbers 15:25). When such things occurred (sinning unintentionally) the Lord gave Moses a set of instructions to teach the people how they must approach the Lord.

A sin presumptuously committed is another matter. In Numbers 15:30, the Lord spoke with regard to those who sin or do anything presumptuously (NKJV; acts defiantly, NET). What we have here is an attitude of heart that is in rebellion to the Lord. “The expression means that someone would do something with deliberate defiance, with an arrogance in spite of what the LORD said. It is as if the sinner was about to attack God, or at least lifting his hand against God. The implication of the expression is that it was done in full knowledge of the Law” (NET, translator note).

The importance of this distinction is in the understanding level of the one who committed a violation against the Lord’s way. Even today, there are those who sin unintentionally, that is, without clear understanding of the Lord’s way. You will note that the sin (or sins) committed without a clear understanding of the Lord’s way, did not lessen the guilt. They could be (and would be) forgiven by the Lord if the stipulations of His will were obeyed. On the other hand, for those who sin presumptuously, there is no forgiveness.

There is a New Testament application we can make to this. The application can be made with regard to anything wherein the Lord addressed Himself. First, let us not think the Lord forgot to mention something, and with that “failure” we are now allowed to do a particular thing. Two ideas come to mind. First, the Lord addressed Himself with regard to the organization of the local church. Paul gave the Holy Spirit’s exhortation when he told the churches to appoint elders in every church (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1). Since there are to be elders (plurality) in each local congregation, when a congregation has only one, that leader and that congregation is guilty of sin. At best this is an unintentional sin, but more than likely it is intentional—especially when the New Testament “spells it out.”

Second, the application fits with regard to the mechanical instrument of music. It is foolish to think the Lord “failed” (or refused) to address Himself on this issue under the sanction of the new covenant. When He chose not to mention the use or non-use of the mechanical instrument in the worship of the church, the apostles and saints of the first century had a clear understanding what they would do—they would sing, and they would do so without man’s innovation.

Let us not complicate matters by refusing to understand something the Lord addressed, and then act presumptuously as if he did not. RT

#elders, #mechanical-insruments, #music, #presumptuous-sin, #sin-of-ignorance

Meeting, Leading, Sharing

At the last preacher’s meeting in Effingham, Stephen Bradd shared with us a remark to this effect: “The elders have determined they would not spend more time in meetings than they do in visiting.”  I was impressed by that remark. This sentiment was expressed by elders of a congregation and how they were able to make a positive contribution to their local growth. I don’t know that I have it exactly correct, but the sense of it is rather clear just the same.

The elders of the congregation are to be men who “smell like sheep” (to borrow a phrase). They are men who are to know the flock in order to lead them spiritually and emotionally. When the elders spend more time in meetings than in leading and sharing can growth really occur? I wonder.

#elders, #growth, #meeting

CALL THE ELDERS

I was asked a question earlier this week that is worthy of consideration. The question pertained to James 5:14. Why do we not do this? Or, to ask in a different sort of way, why do we not call the elders of the church and pray over the sick as some other churches do (as the question was posed to me)? Those who are members of the Lord’s church have a desire to do things in Bible ways and say things in Bible ways. They are perplexed, however, when we see a Bible way, like in James 5, and wonder if we really mean what we say.

Let us break down the passage into its component parts (James 5:13-18): 1) there was a human response (5:13), 2) there is a human response and a call for another human response (5:14), 3) there is the Lord’s response (5:15), 4) there is a human response and an illustration (5:16-18). We will focus our attention on 5:14.

People of all walks in life both suffer and get physically sick (a distinction is made in v. 15 between the physically sick and spiritually sick). In 5:14, those who are physically sick are to call for the elders of the church. The one who is physically sick is not called upon to pray or administer anything to self; moreover, this does not appear to be a gathering of the saints at an appointed assembly—the assumption being “the sickness is serious enough to restrict the mobility of the sufferer,” perhaps even being near death (Moo, p. 238; McKnight, p. 435). The “them” of 5:14 refers to the elders. In 5:13, on the other hand, the one who is suffering is to pray (the nature of the suffering unspecified). Thus, what appears to be taking place here is some physical ailment that is serious enough to call for a particular kind of action.

There are three things involved in the action of the elders: first, they are to “pray over him;” second, they are to anoint the ailing one with oil (the reason for the anointing and the kind of oil used is unspecified); and third, they are to do this “in the name of the Lord” (by the Lord’s authority). With this being done, James said the prayer of the elders, in faith, will save (heal) the one seriously sick (5:15).

It appears that the anointing with oil was for symbolic reasons, not medicinal. Whether something miraculous is in view or not, scholars differ. The significance of the healing, however, was in relation to the prayers of the faithful to the Lord and the Lord hearing that prayer and granting the desire (5:15).

Is it proper, then, for some to call for the elders of the church and pray for the one who is seriously sick? It seems to me this is proper, though not a command as established by New Testament dictum. In other words, if one is seriously sick and there is a desire for the elders to pray for (and over) the sick one, then doing so seems quite reasonable. This action can encourage the sick and others present, but in every case, it is the Lord’s doing as to whether one is relieved of the sickness or not.

 

#anoint-with-oil, #elders, #prayer

Christian leadership does it exist Some would qualify…

Christian leadership; does it exist? Some would qualify it greatly.

http://etsop95.wordpress.com/

#elders, #leadership, #overseer, #shepherd

More Lessons From the Civil War

My article today examines the Civil War and the lessons we can learn from that terrible conflict. We examine the effects of racism, prejudice, hatred and division.

The sesquicentennial of the Civil War began on April 12th. In the intervening years, have we learned the major lessons from the war? We can quickly say that we have, because we have not had another internal war on our own soil. Yet, our speedy answer may betray us.

The Civil War was not an isolated event occurring in a vacuum. It happened because of reasons and motivations. If we have the same attitudes today, even without engaging in combat, we have learned nothing.

As an avid student of the Civil War, I see many more lessons than I described in the article.

For example, on both sides of the conflict, completely unqualified men were given the responsibility to lead troops when they did not possess one iota of ability to do so. It was a hopeless situation for the troops and countless numbers of men died, as a result. Why were they installed as high officers? They were successful businessmen, so certainly they could lead troops. The folly of such a decision had fatal results.

The implications for the church are obvious. How many churches have installed men as elders simply because they were successful businessmen? These congregations overlooked the qualifications for a man to be an elder and made a political appointment, instead. The results, sadly, are the same. The army loses its way and people die.

Another lesson we learn from the Civil War is that without the proper tools, no Army can succeed. In the second half of the War, the Confederate troops were constantly in survival mode. They routinely ran out of supplies as the Union cut off their supply routes. In time, they were without shoes, clothes, food and weapons.

As God’s people, if we do not utilize the tools/weapons God has given to us, we will run out of supplies, as well. We will be defenseless if we fail to wear our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-17). We need the fruits of the Spirit and the lessons of God’s Word with us all the time. When we leave them behind, we haven’t a chance. Moreover, if the pulpit is bereft of Godly teaching and it is missing from our homes, then we find ourselves without any means to defend ourselves.

Finally, the Confederates fought with extraordinary courage and did things that they had no right to do with their emaciated bodies, tattered clothes and poor supplies. They fought with everything that they had. If we can separate ourselves from why they were fighting, they are an astonishing example or what courage, strength and resolve can accomplish.

We need that resolve as Christians because we face an Army that APPEARS to be an overwhelming foe. Naturally, there is a difference because we have the Lord fighting for us (Hebrews 13:5).

On the other hand, the Union Army suffered defeats in the beginning because they were overconfident and under-prepared. We can find ourselves in the same position if we do not arm ourselves with God’s Word. We must be humble before God, understanding our weaknesses, and committed to righteousness and evangelism. God’s grace and mercy cannot help us, if we try to fight Satan on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9). Allow God to empower you and fight ahead of you every day (Romans 12:1-2).

What other lessons can we remember?

#civil-war, #elders, #forthright, #leadership, #lessons, #racism, #righteousness, #war

Greatest Problem in the Church

If you asked most people in the Lord’s body, to name the biggest problem in the church, most would probably say false doctrine. While that is certainly plentiful, that would not be an issue if we had better men in leadership. Accordingly, I think the biggest problem we have in the Lord’s church is that we need more godly Elders.

Do we encourage young men to work toward becoming Elders? Is it even considered a priority any more? Why do we have so many congregations over 10o members that do not have Elders? How do we change that?

What do you think is the greatest problem in the church?

#church, #doctrine, #elders, #leadership

Tribute to a godly man

Over on BNc I posted a tribute to an elder and friend of many years. Bob Childress died last month. I’ve known a few of his character, but not many.

#elders, #friends, #godliness

Call for the elders

The words of James are that when one is sick, let that one call for the elders of the church and let the elders “pray over him.” This is a passage that has prompted discussion over the years. The discussion goes something like this: Is this miraculous, what is the oil for, are the elders still to come and pray, can the elders pray together in a different location, etc. All these questions might be useful for thoughtful discussion, but will the point be missed in these thoughtful discussions?

Calling for the elders of the church to pray over a person who is sick (a brother) is a good thing and I can hardly see how it can ever be a bad or neutral thing. If it is not miraculous what benefit will result? Consider: the prayers of those who desire the Lord’s relief of affliction will make their way “upward.” The Lord, who hears all, will grant according to His will and He deems needful. The one prayed for is receiving attention from spiritual leaders and this has a soothing quality associated with it. The ones leading in prayer know the seriousness of the request and with that knowledge appeal to the Lord of all.

Call for the elders. If they resist, then perhaps there is a need to pray for them.

#elders, #prayer, #sick

Something New and Big

We are embarking on something I’ve never been a part of before. On December 11-12, David  Pharr will be speaking in a seminar on Elders and Deacons. We are in the process of trying to reach the goal of having proper leadership. It is exciting.

However, I know that congregations have been torn apart as a result of the process. Please pray for the Church of Christ at Allenhurst, that we may act like sanctified people as we seek to do God’s will.

#biblical, #deacons, #elders

Richard H. has a great post on his “Alm…

Richard H. has a great post on his “AlmaBlog” — is today the 19th? — just out today. He’s too modest, so he’ll probably not mention it here. Title, “Since Jesus is Lord, Then …”

http://1happyfarmer.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/since-jesus-is-lord-then/

#elders, #shepherding